Do you often say,” “I’m really busy.”? You’re in good company! So is the rest of Hong Kong! According to a recent study of Hong Kong workers, 60% feel highly stressed from their jobs. That means more than half of us are experiencing excessive levels of stress on a daily basis and stress lowers productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness.
Mindfulness is a simple stress reduction technique with proven results reducing stress and increasing concentration, memory recall, and emotional regulation.
What can you do?
First, realize that you have the power to make changes. Whenever you feel too busy, when ever there’s one too many things to do… or a 100 too many things to do, stop! Take a pause. Literally stop doing whatever you’re doing and notice your breathing.
This is called Mindful Breathing and few breaths can make a huge difference.
Why is breath important for calm?
When you go into high stress, you go into a neurological state commonly called Fight or Flight. Your sympathetic nervous system kicks in to help you deal with whatever is happening. This system is designed for getting you out of life threatening emergencies like escaping a burning building.
Your brain optimizes for quick decision making and instantaneous action so that you can escape danger in record time. Complex thinking is sacrificed for instant yes/no decision making. In your body, digestion and immunity are repressed in favor of a faster heart rate and breathing. You’re wired simply for “Run! Freeze! or Fight!.”
This is perfect if there is a fire, because you need to get out RIGHT NOW! In that moment, you body is not concerned about digesting lunch, fighting off a cold, doing higher maths or composing a symphony. You simply to save your life. Unfortunately, your body doesn’t know the difference between a fire and a stressful confrontation. Your system reacts to both of these “emergencies” in exactly the same way.
This is why we become so much less able to handle complex situations when we’re stressed. We can’t think creatively, concentrate for very long, memory recall is poor, emotional regulation is downgraded and our bodies get tired quickly. We tend to react before we think or feel. This is why we make mistakes with our work and relationships. We’re literally not equipped to deal with complexity in moments of high stress.
This is why pausing and noticing your breath can make such a big difference. Pausing helps turn this system off.
When we pause and just notice our breath, this sends a signal to our body that we’re not in a life threatening emergency. We’re telling our system, “Hey, I can slow down! I can pause. I don’t need to react immediately to anything. I can take a moment to just breathe.”
How to take a pause and do Mindful Breathing?
- As soon as you notice that you’re stressed (or getting that way) shift your attention to your breath.
- Focus your attention on your breath as it is moving in and out of your body.
- Do this for 1 to 5 breaths, simply noticing your breath without trying to change your breath. You do not need to deepen or lengthen your breath. Mindfulness works by becoming aware of what is happening. It doesn’t try to change what is happening.
- You will notice immediate effects, a sense of increasing calm.
- If not, you may be more stressed than you realize. Let your attention relax by letting yourself focus on something else for a few seconds. Then return to noticing your breath for a few more breaths. Do this several times until you notice a difference in how you feel.
The more often you practice Mindful Breathing the more effective it will become for you.
If you’re part of the 60% of Hong Kong who experiences high stress on a daily basis, take it to work with you and use it in your daily life. This simple practice can make a huge difference in your life. It is wonderful tool and you always have it with you.
Eléna has dedicated her life to asking big questions, and meditation has proven essential in that quest. Science major, computer engineer, business owner, teacher, healing and meditation coach, she believes that we’re all unique and so are our journeys.
Discovering meditation in Thailand 2005, she began a life study of how it is used by a vast array of philosophies, religions and healing modalities. Through meditation she discovered her ability to work with bioenergy (chi) and hear inner wisdom of herself and others. Meditation has become the foundation for deepening her awareness inside and out.
“Mindfulness has changed my life so much that I have created a method especially for people in Hong Kong. I know that we can make life better!”
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Location: Balance Health
Price: HKD 300
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